Sara and I spend our lives checking out new vegan treats, but there are certain products that we always go back to. Here then is the Vegan Curious list of the vegan products that we think don’t always get the attention they deserve
1 Naturli Plant Based Mince £3
When someones says to you vegan food is always too expensive, this is the type of product to throw back at them. The Naturli mince, it is Danish and is mainly soya souped up with nuts and veggies, is really something special. You can use it as you do mince in Bolognese sauce or Lasagna, but I think it works even better when chopped up and turned into a fantastic vegan steak/burger hybrid. You can get around four of them out of each pack too – fantastic value
2 Minor Figures Oat Milk £2
Sure, I love Oatly as much as the next nut milk addict, but I think Minor Figures has a couple of things in its favour. It has a sweeter taste than Oatly which really complements slightly bitter coffee. Secondly, it is made in the UK, unlike Oatly which comes in from Sweden, so in theory I assume it has slightly smaller carbon footprint.
3 Hodmedod Baked Beans
Speaking of low carbon footprints Hodmedod’s fantastic range of beans and pulses are grown in East Anglia, whereas their big high profile rivals are imported from the US. I especially love the innovative Vaal Dahl but it’s baked beans, which use the large and succulent Fava Beans, which are a staple around here. We spoke to Hodmedod’s inspirational founder a few episodes ago.
4 Nakd Bars 70p
The number of times I have got to a store and almost ended up buying an energy bar that has dairy in it. You too? With Naked Bars you are on safe territory as they are all vegan and apparently all healthy. The company claims that they count as one of your five a day. Well that would be a great as their range of flavours is delicious including new ones like Coffee & Walnut, Banoffee Pie and Apple Danish.
5 Violife Greek White Cheese £3
So where do you stand on vegan cheese? I am of the opinion that the mainstream stuff you buy in supermarkets has got a lot better. But compared with artisan vegan stuff from the likes of Essential, Tyne Chease and Kinda Co (their Marmite Cheese is addictive!) it really doesn’t cut it. If you have never tried artisan vegan cheese from those makers – or indeed via the vegan cheesemongers La Fauxmagerie – you really must. I will admit I haven’t tried the new Violife Extra Mature Cheddar – which seems to be getting rave reviews from fellow vegans. Until then the one that I think works best is their take on Feta. It is salty, crumbly and perfect for Greek salads and vegan kebabs
6 Moving Mountains Burger £10
While the Beyond Burgers grab all the limelight (see our Lewis Hamilton story) – Moving Mountains are quietly becoming the burger of choice for discerning vegans. They mainly sell them in pub and restaurant chains – there’s a list here that includes Harvester, Hard Rock Cafes and more. The burgers are an intriguing hybrid. They have a really succulent, fatty satisfying consistency thanks to Coconut Oil, while Beetroot Juice allows a juicy ‘bleed’ at the centre of the patty. There are also plant proteins and mushrooms and they are loaded with herbs, spices and packed with Vitamin B12 for extra nutrients. Definitely worth a trip to try one!
7 Manilife Deep Roast Crunchy Peanut Butter £3
Manlife Peanut Butter has apparently been around for a few years, but in spite of an obsession with the crunchy variety have never really appeared on my radar. Once the 7 Manilife Deep Roast Crunchy Peanut Butter has been tasted though, it is tough to go back to other brands. It has a rich, smoky taste that really is something special. I had my head turned for a while, by the Marimite peanut butter combo, but this is the real deal.
8 Linda McCartney Sausage Rolls £2
Well the Greggs sausage rolls are fab, and my favourite artisan ones come from The Fields Beneath in London and V-Gee Lowestoft, if you want a great vegan sausage roll that you can cook easily and quickly for your dinner you can’t beat Linda M’s. They are tasty filling and very cheap.
9 Lamthong Young Green Jackfruit £2
Pretty much every big vegan food maker and supermarket now has a Jackfruit item in their range. This wasn’t always the case. If you wanted to make vegan pulled pork you needed to pop down to you local specialist Asian supermarket and score a can of Lamthong. Tinned jackfruit – make sure you get the brine version not the syrup one – is cheap and easy to use in recipes. Definitely a vegan staple.
10 Follow Your Heart Vegan Sriracha Mayonnaise £4
Sara will be horrified that I have included this in the list as she would rather eat her own toenails (do they count as vegan?), scrub that – my toenails (def not vegan) than tuck into anything that resembles mayo. But who am I to condemn her appalling lifestyle choices? You can get vegan mayonnaise from all the usual companies now, but I still like Follow Your Heart best. The Sriracha mayo add a significant kick to any kind of fake meat sandwich and is genius if spread thinly on baked potatoes.
Right that’s my list – what is yours?
Want some great vegan tips on eating out, food to buy and a load more. Check out the Vegan Curious podcast – there’s info on how to tune in here